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The Six Value Medals

By Edward de Bono (includes links to many of his other books)

Six Value Medals

Amazon link: The Six Value Medals: The Essential Tool for Success in the 21st Century

What Are the Six Value Medals?

We can greatly improve our traditional thinking habits.

Traditional thinking is all about analysis and judgment.

We recognise standard situations and apply standard answers.

This is no longer enough.

You can analyze the past but you have to design the future.


Values come into all areas of thinking and behavior.

Values are what we consider important, but we may not be consciously aware of them.


This book provides a powerful framework for value assessment.

Different types of value are given broad category names: gold, silver, steel, glass, wood and brass.

This makes it easier for us to notice such values, to look for them, to see them and to act upon them.


I have generally referred to applying the six value medals to organizations.

Businesses, managers and employees will all benefit from them but they work just as well when an individual is the organization.

You can apply these values to all areas of your life.




  • Introduction: What Are the Six Value Medals?
    • Why We Need Values
      • Commodities
      • The Cooking Competition
    • Changes in Thinking
    • Thinking about Value
  • 1 Values
    • When Do We Need to Assess Values?
      • Decisions
      • Value Scanning
      • Analysis and Values
      • Perception and Value
      • Logic and Values
      • Values and Emotions
  • 2 Negative Values
    • Impact
    • Checking Values
  • 3 Frameworks
  • 4 Six Value Medals
    • Symbol
    • Focus
    • Materials
    • Overview of the Six Value Medals.

      This is a quick overview of all the medals.

      Each medal will then get full attention in a chapter of its own.

      • GOLD MEDAL:

        This medal deals with human values, the values that affect people.

        Gold is a superior material and human values are the most important values of all in the end.

        What are the human values here?


        This medal focuses directly on organisational values.

        That means values related to the purpose of the
        organisation (in business this would be profitability).

        Silver is associated with money.

        There are also the values involved in the actual running of the
        organisation , such as cost control.

        organisation may also be a family, group of friends or social club.

      • STEEL MEDAL:

        These are the quality values.

        Steel should be strong.

        The values are in the intended direction.

        What are the values of the product, service or function in terms of what it is trying to do?

        If it is tea, is it good quality tea?


        This medal covers a number of associated values: innovation, simplicity and creativity.

        Glass is a very simple material originating in sand.

        But with glass you can use your creativity to do a lot of things.

      • WOOD MEDAL:

        These are the environmental values in the broadest sense.

        What are the impact values on the environment, on the community, on others?

        The values relate to those things and people not directly involved.

      • BRASS MEDAL:

        This medal deals explicitly with perceptual values.

        How does this appear?

        How might it be seen?

        Perception is real even when it is not reality.

        Brass looks like gold.

  • 5 Gold Medal Values
    • Assessing Gold Medal Values
      • Gold Medal Values of a Change
      • Gold Medal Values of an Existing
    • Situation
    • The Range of Human Values
      • Basic Needs
      • Freedom From...
      • Psychological Needs
    • What Are Your Gold Medal Values?
    • Summary
  • 6 Silver Medal Values
    • Purpose
      • Different Organisations , Different
    • Purposes
    • Operations
    • Levels
    • Problem-Solving
    • What Are Your Silver Medal Values?
    • Summary
  • 7 Steel Medal Values
    • Customer Values
    • Quality of Service
    • Function Quality
    • Quality and Change
    • Negative Values
    • Perceived Values
    • Quality Focus
    • What Are Your Steel Medal Values?
    • Summary
  • 8 Glass Medal Values
    • Innovation
    • Simplicity
    • Creativity
      • The Culture of Creativity
    • Fragility
    • Potential
    • What Are Your Glass Medal Values?
    • Summary
  • 9 Wood Medal Values
    • Impact
    • Nature
    • Other Parties
      • Competitors
      • Suppliers
      • Friends and Family
    • Negative Values
    • What Are Your Wood Medal Values?
    • Summary
  • 10 Brass Medal Values
    • Whose Interest?
    • Negative Perceptions
    • Shaping Perceptions
      • Credibility
      • Selective Perception
      • Different Points of View
    • What Are Your Brass Medal Values?
    • Summary
  • 11 Value Sensitivity
    • Criticism
    • Danger Sensitivity
    • Unseen Value
    • Elimination
    • The Value Scan
    • Habit
  • 12 Conflicts and Priorities
    • Prioritising Values
    • Conflict of Values
  • 13 Design
    • Problem-Solving
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Conflicting Values
  • 14 Value Size
    • Figures
    • Four Degrees of Value
      • Strong Values
      • Sound Values
      • Weak Values
      • Remote Values
    • Negative Values
    • Assessment
  • 15 Benefits and Costs
    • Decisions
    • Negative Values
  • 16 Sources of Value
    • Communication Values
    • Permission
    • Gateway
    • Enabler Values
    • Catalyst Values
    • Enhancer Values
    • Accelerator Values
    • Problem-Solving
    • Removing Bottlenecks
    • Mistakes
    • Competitors
    • Failures
    • Concepts
  • 17 The Value Triangle
    • The Triangle
      • Silver Medal
      • Steel Medal
      • Gold Medal
      • Glass Medal
      • Wood Medal
      • Brass Medal
    • Value Strength
      • Negative Values
    • Comparison
  • 18 The Value Map
    • Listing
    • Negative Values
    • Sample List
    • Joint Maps
    • State of Thinking
  • VICTERI Teams
  • Conclusion
  • Seeing Values
    • Perception and Communication
    • Visual Display

See booktitle at for reviews and comments


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence;

it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker



The shift from manual workers
who do as they are being told
either by the task or by the boss —

TO knowledge workers
who have to manage themselves

profoundly challenges social structure


Managing Oneself (PDF) is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” …

“It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities:
Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life),

and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context



More than anything else,

the individual
has to take more responsibility
for himself or herself,
rather than depend on the company.”


“Making a living is no longer enough
‘Work’ has to make a life .” continue

finding and selecting the pieces of the puzzle


The Second Curve




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving relentlessly toward unimagined futures.



What’s the next effective action on the road ahead




It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then working out a plan for coping with what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise.

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